R & R in Praha

Trip Start Aug 22, 2010
Trip End Jan 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostel Orange

Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Saturday, October 9, 2010

After the craziness of the last 10 days, we have all been looking forward to Prague. Nicole because she can finally escape Ad & I (she flies back to London on Sunday), Ad because of the beer and I because I can finally rest and stop trying to keep up with these young'uns in their 20s!

But first... a Saturday night out in Prague to be had. After yet another early morning arrival from an overnight train, we got right into the sightseeing thing and did another 'free' walking tour. For those of you who haven't heard, they're 2-3 hour walking tours of the main sights of a city, which usually provide you with a pretty good overview of the sights, history and what more there is to see. The guides work soley for tips (plus percentage they take from the other paid tours they plug along the way!). Obviously there is a whole lot of upselling, but I'm perfectly happy to overlook this when I can get a great tour for 5 or so euros. The guy that ran this tour was an actor, which made it all pretty entertaining. He even managed to shed a tear at a jewish memorial which, although it was very emotional, he sees and speaks about every day of the year. A clever trick that seemed to work on the Canadian girls though, who got teary themselves and tipped him very well. Ah, use the skills you've got huh?

Although still chilly, the sun has shone every day in Prague so we spent some valuable down time lying in the sun near the Charles Bridge after the tour. Followed by some extra down time napping at the hostel before our night out. Not to do things by halves, we elected to do the dreaded "2.5 hours of power" (free drinks) pub crawl. Unfortunately, after beer number one, my body shut down with the beginnings of a bad cold, sinus infection and 4 cold sores! We persevered for a few more hours, Nic and Ad adding all sorts of random forms of Czech alcohol to fix their watered down Sangrias. The remainder of the night involved Nic ambushing a keen amateur photographer's night time photoshoot of the old town hall and convincing him to take her photo, complete with flower in the hair, and Ad ending up at a locals-only Czech bar for cheap beer and weiner schnitzel trying to convince them he wasn't German! A good fun night. Needless to say, we all completely fell apart the next day! We did a few obligatory touristy things, ate some hangover food and sad our sad farewell to our beloved housemate Nicole. I'm sure we've convinced her to move to Melbourne on her eventual return from London though, so all is good. It wasn't until after Nic left and I napped for 2.5 hours mid afternoon that I realised how much my body had actually shut down. So we've been taking it easy here for a few days. Enjoying some homecooked meals again, skyping family & friends and finally catching up on the blog.

One thing we have done though is a day trip to the Kostnice at Kutna Hora, which is a church and burial ground an hour from Prague. 600 years ago it was a large burial ground for 14th century plague victims (30,000 of them) and victims of the 15th century Hussite wars. As a result of floods and erosion, the building & graves were damaged and in the early 16th century restoration work began, using the bones (!!!) as decoration for the Ossuary (chapel). Apparently this isn't considered to be sacriligeous, and was designed out of some sort of religious respect. Beyond me. I can't really explain how eerie this place is... check out the pictures. In order to help us get our heads around the experiences of the day, we wandered into a great little local pub for a tasty locally produced dark beer.

Tonight we're off to a night of Czech beer education and indulgence, and one final Eastern European meal. No doubt Ad will have his favourite.. pork knuckle (a big chunk of slow roasted pig's knee basically) with potato dumplings, sauerkraut and gravy. I might stick to the goulash in a bowl of bread. Looking forward to trying some more local beers.

The next step is Morocco, and then onto South America. Eastern Europe (the VERY little we have seen) has far exceeded our expectations. We've been blown away by the oppression these people have experienced in the 20th century (Nazi occupation followed by the Communists only 3 years later, when the rest of the Western world was recovering after WW2). Nonetheless, they are wonderful, kind and warm hearted people who love a good drink and party. A great time had by all in the last 10 days, and a very enjoyable chapter of our trip.
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